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Archive for September, 2013

Not long ago I saw an advertisement in a local paper for what looked like a most fascinating class. My life had grown stale; it was high time for me to try something new, so I enrolled. The idea of learning about subjects as diverse as shipbuilding, sailing, swordfighting, pillaging, loot appraising, and fine rum thrilled me.

It turned out the class actually was about proper breathing, something called a “powerhouse,” and a series of exercises designed to increase flexibility and core strength. I can’t say I didn’t feel stronger and more lithe after just one class. Moreover, my classmates were quite friendly; indeed, as the only male in the class, I was (despite the skull-and-crossbones t-shirt I’d chosen for my first day of school outfit) pretty much catnip. Still, I felt a tad let down, like I’d been the victim of a bait-and-switch routine — until I reviewed the ad for the class and realized I’d misread one letter in the course name.

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The world reads the Sermon on the Mount and says “nice heavenly aspirations, but the real world don’t play like that.” The Church in the post-Christian West — salt that has lost its taste — reads the Sermon on the Mount and says, “Our Lord preached it, not so we would obey, but to teach that obedience is impossible and that we must rely on grace alone.” Anyone who wonders why the world is in a mess, or why the Western Church is in a mess, need look no further than this.

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After St Matthew finished his begats, he dove right into two of the great controversies of his times: righteousness and justice in applying Torah, and divorce. Nearly two thousand years have passed since Matthew wrote his gospel, and two of the great controversies of our times are righteous application of Torah, and divorce.

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